Tamiya M4A3E8 Sherman "Easy Eight"
The most widely used and recognized American tank of World War II is indisputably the M4 Sherman. In 1944, an improved Sherman with upgraded armor protection, a 76mm main gun, and improved suspension to bear the weight of increased armor and to smooth out the ride was fielded, and became known as the "Easy Eight" due to the suffix indicating experimental status, "E8", in its official designator, M4A3E8. Easy Eights served in World War II and soon thereafter saw combat time in Korea.
In the Box
Typical Tamiya attention to detail, superb engineering, and very modest part count, this little Sherman brings a few hours of modeling delight. The tooling is all new, with the exception of the pioneer tools and .50 cal. The 5 sprues are molded in olive green and feature well-proportioned raised and recessed detail. Of particular note are the fine weld lines on the upper hull and the fine cast texture detail on the turret. Lower hull is multi-part plastic job with the metal weights to add heft. Link and length tracks are featured, as typical for Tamiya 1/48 armor kits. A very nice upgrade from Tamiya's other 1/48 M4 kits is the full fender above the running gear which encloses the gap between lower and upper hull sides. The waist-up tank commander figure is nicely detailed and adds a welcome sense of scale and operational realism to this late-war Sherman. Decal options are provided for two ETO mounts - one at Bastogne in January '45, the other for springtime '45 in Germany.
Hull and Turret Parts - Clean and Simple
Detail Example: Turret Top - Commander's Cupola, Loader's Hatch, and Fine Cast Texture
Running Gear - A Whole New Look with the HVVS for Tamiya 1/48 Sherman
Standard Tamiya Instructions and Color and Markings Guide
As expected, the build was virtually flawless. Assembly sequence was straightforward and parts fit was excellent. The following sequence of photos and captions will give you a feel for the simple elegance of the engineering and how I approached it with construction and painting in mind.
Steps 1 and 2 - As with the newer generation of 1/48th scale Tamiya armor kits, the lower hull is a multi-piece design accompanied by 4 metal weights to give it some added heft.
Steps 3 and 4 -- Rear hull bulkhead and detail went together quickly, with clear and distinct locating features for the small parts.
Steps 5 through 9, running gear, were deferred until later in the build, as my initial focus was getting to paint olive drab on the subassemblies prior to installing the running gear and tracks and assembling the upper and lower hull halves.
Step 10 - The upper hull begins to take shape with perfectly fitting parts.
Step 11 -- One of my favorite features in this kit is the enclosed sponsons. Those whom have built the earlier 1/48 Tamiya Shermans will appreciate it, too!
A quick dry-fit of the upper and lower hull halves yielded seamless interface between the two.
Steps 12 through 14 -- Getting all the fiddly bits on the upper hull. Nice detail and great fit all around.
A closer look at the sponson braces in Step 14.
Steps 15 through 18 -- Turret construction was involved, but quick and without any issues. Single-piece gun tube just need the centerline mold parting line knocked down with a sanding stick.
Sub-assemblies dry-fit prior to painting -- everything good to go for paint!
Everything was basecoated with the flat black spray bomb. Ammo by Mig Olive Drab color modulation set was used on the vehicle and road wheel hubs. Vallejo Metal Color Steel was used to paint the tracks.
Step 7 Revisited -- After letting the OD cure overnight, wheels were cemented in place the next day.
Step 9 Revisited -- With all wheels firmly set, the link and length tracks were added without any fuss. The instructions are numbered to show the installation sequence of each section, which really helped speed along the assembly and eliminate trial-and-error sequencing to get the best fit.
Step 15 -- Jumping forward to where we left off earlier, upper and lower hulls were joined together.
Step 20 -- Jumping to Step 20, the turret and tow cable were added to the hull.
Decals were added using the Microscale System over localized applications of Future. While the white starts went down without silvering, the black stars surprisingly exhibited silvering around the edges after a flat coat was applied.
Having run out of parts and decals, it was time to declare victory and completion...at least for this review's sake. Aftermarket stowage and weathering will be applied to the kit over following few weeks.
A great looking rendition of the "Easy Eight," Tamiya has fielded another winner in 1/48th scale.
Another great piece in Tamiya's exceptional 1/48th scale armor series, I Highly Recommended this kit for Beginner to Advanced builders who have an affinity for WWII armor and are looking for a relatively quick and very painless build.
Thanks goes out to Tamiya USA for this review kit.
Reviewed by Dave Koukol
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